Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Isn't it abou {Time}

Time is so precious. Time is valuable. Time moves so quickly!!! Utilize it!

One of my pet peeves is when people say "I wish I had time for that," right after I just got through telling them that I enjoy spending my time doing __________. I was making an appointment with someone and they asked what I do. I told them that I was a homemaker and they said "Well then your schedule isn't a problem." I wanted to tell them how precious my time was, how much I accomplish with my time.

Don't we all wish that we had more time? When Hannah was born, I decided I needed to make time for the more important things in life. It is all about prioritizing. That is how you "make" time.

Well, I started getting up earlier. If you wake up at 5:30 instead of 8:00, you have two and a half more hours to accomplish the things you need to do. My alarm is set for 5:30 on weekdays and I generally try to go to bed at 10:00. That gives me 7.5 hours of sleep a night--plenty to get me through the day.

Time Savers: I do most of my Christmas/Birthday/Personal shopping on Amazon. IF you are a student (or have a student in the family) you qualify for FREE two day shipping on most everything (without the required 25 dollar purchase). This is great for me because I hate shopping, I hate going to the store, I hate trying things on--it is not my thing, but I love having things or buying nice things for gifts so it saves me lots of time and hassle.

Staying on Top: Have you ever done a load of laundry, then rather than getting to it right then, you just process the next load through, then the next? Pretty soon you are facing Mount Everest, not to mention the sister mountain of dirty clothes that pile up? What about the dishes? If you clean as you go, you eliminate mountains. I'll talk about that in a forthcoming post.

Meal Planning: A lot of people have asked me about this. I plan my meals 30 days in advance. Not only does it save me time, but it saves me money, again--post to follow.

Day Planning: I have a list daily that I need to accomplish, and I try to stick to it daily.

Why is our time precious? We don't want to spend every waking moment of the day, engaged in mundane tasks that don't further our personal growth and development. We want to enjoy the time we have with our family, we want to take time to enjoy things that are fun and precious to us, right? So in the next couple of posts I will be writing about how to organize our lives so that we are making time instead of wasting time.


Time Wasters:


Monday, August 23, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010


My one and only recently had her first birthday party. It was great. There was cake, swimming, crying, and all the wonderful cliches that go along when you are celebrating a first birthday. My previous experiences with birthday parties was limited to my own, which meant that birthdays were fun, included good food, and lots of presents. I was surprised at what a different experience the celebration was from a mother's point of view.

First of all--there we a lot of tears the week before the actual birthday. Not from Hannah, but from me. It was a time of reflection. I thought about everything I'd learned, how far she had come, all the happiest memories, and most importantly--how very blessed I am to have her as my daughter. I found myself a little sad, knowing that I could never go back and capture each moment all over again.

I began to think that there were so many "firsts" that had been so exciting and wonderful to experience. Her first laugh, her first solid foods, her first steps...all wonderful monumental moments in time. I started feeling the reality of how fleeting those precious moments are, and felt a little sad. I thought to myself "there are not many firsts left to experience." Quickly after this foolish thought I corrected myself. I started thinking of all the "Firsts" I was going to experience: The first book she reads, her first day of school, her first kiss...I realized that we live in an ever evolving state. I have experienced firsts just as recently as Hannah had.

I realized that without firsts, we are stuck. We are constantly experiencing the world renewed, that is how we are educated, that is how we are defined.

I'm grateful to be able to have wonderful memories of the firsts Hannah has already experienced. I'm looking forward for many more firsts.

What "First" have you recently experienced? What is your favorite "First" of your children? (My personal favorite first was when she laughed for the first time. I've never had another moment in my life to compare to the first time when Hannah showed outward joy).

Saturday, August 7, 2010


I love to read, and I love to "blog stalk" a (very) few authors when time permits. One of those authors is one of my favorites--Shannon Hale. She is the author of The Goose Girl, Austenland, Book of a Thousand Days, Princess Academy (among my favorites) and more. I was reading a Q&A session with her and this is what she said:

"Do you get stressed out frequently with being a mom, a wife, and an author?"

Yes. All the time. I don't know how to do it all so I don't. I'd rather fail as a writer than as a wife and mother. I'm most definitely failing as a housekeeper and gardener. My ship has sailed as a scrapbooker/seamstress/baker.

I love it. Spencer W. Kimball said "No success can compensate for failure in the home." I consider Shannon (may I call you Shannon? Oh yes Melissa, please do! I know you've read all my books and I consider us friends...) a successful author, very professional--but she understands priorities.

So I hope you can say I'd rather fail as a _______ (fill in the blank with your wildest dreams) than as a wife and mother. I'm most definitely failing as____... be honest with yourself. Don't stretch yourself so thin that you cannot meet the needs of your family!

For more on Shannon Hale click HERE and go check out her books--you won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


This picture came from Message with a Bottle which I find quite hilarious.

I am a worrier. I always have been. This trait of mine has been elevated with the status of parent. There are so many things to worry about, physical, emotional, spiritual safety I know I can't protect against everything, nor would I want to, I know experience will help my little one to develop and grow--but it doesn't mean it isn't hard watching her go through difficult things.

Someone I admire very much said that she often fears for her children, but you cannot live with fear. She has to replace fear with faith. Faith that God is watching out for your children beyond what you can do, faith in your love, that you can protect them as far as you are able. We cannot live with fear--replace it with faith.

I've quoted Miss Molly multiple times and I will again "I am a worrier, but I am also a warrior."

How do you extinguish the fear you have and replace it with faith? How do you live with the day to day worry?

Friday, July 30, 2010

A Mother's Prayer

Since becoming a mother my prayers have been pretty interesting. For example, last week on a particularly frustrating day at the end of the day while cradling my daughter in my arms as I put her to sleep I prayed "Please help her to learn the word no, and to respond accordingly."

I have noticed that as I have prayed on behalf of my daughter I consider the life she will lead. I am very much a tough love type of person. Perhaps it is the educator coming out in me, perhaps it is because I know the value of pain, but sometimes my prayers go something like this:

"bless her beautiful mind and body to grow strong, bless her that she will be able to make the right kind of mistakes and that she will learn to get back on the path quickly. Bless her to know the pain that others can cause so that she will not cause others pain, bless her to know joy and happiness."

Sometimes the words just come out of me. I don't want my daughter to have everything she wants. I've seen kids that have everything they want and they aren't happy. They may have fun but they do not have joy in the long run. I want my daughter to be an influence for good in peoples lives. I want her to be a tool for good in God's hands and I believe that children can only do this by experience.

There was an article in the New York Times about a mother who gave her son a map and some money and dropped him off at a Subway station with a few instructions. She then told him to find his way home. I think he was about 6 years old. What a lesson in self reliance.

Personally I would never leave my 6 year old to find her way home but in a lot of ways that is what this life is about. We are trying to find our way home and we need to have many kinds of experiences in order for that to happen.

I love my child more than anything in this world and I will hurt when she hurts, I worry for her happiness and safety, more than that I worry about her happiness and safety when she has left the security of our home. More than anything I pray for the ability to lead her to straight and narrow paths so that she can find her own way home. I pray to be able to give her the tools to succeed, rather than simply praying for her success.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Super Cute!

While on maternity leave, new mom Adele photographs her daughter Mila during her naps-- with a twist!

She tries to imagine what she would be dreaming about and tries to capture the scene!

You can see all of them HERE

Monday, July 26, 2010

Mommy Profile: Tera Nelson

>Meet Tera: Wife, Momma, Homemaker extraordinaire (!)

I am married to a wonderful man, David Merrill Nelson. Just recently within this last year, I left the workforce to become a stay at home mother to my five beautiful children – Autumn (7), Joy (6), Virginia aka Gini (4), Kaitlynn aka Kaity (4), and Jackson. I love life and the career change! This is definitely a brief introduction. It is hard to briefly introduce me and my family, without telling our story of how we came to be…

The story

My name is Tera Nelson. I got married at the young age of 20 in the Mesa Arizona temple. I was faced with many hardships almost immediately – my father was diagnosed with cancer, my father-in-law was killed in a car accident, my husband and myself were in a car accident, my husband fell into deep depression and fell away from the church, my husband became unmotivated in life beginning and quitting school and work, I suffered 4 miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy which almost took my life, I had to undergo several female surgeries ultimately leading to the removal of ½ my female parts, and for the kicker my husband became verbally and physically abusive. These hardships led to a divorce ending my marriage of 4 ½ years and I found myself re-entering the world of SINGLES.

Early in my first marriage, we lived at BYU-ID where we met a couple by the name of Dave and Jessica. We became the closest of couple friends. We did everything together! We were even there when they had their first child – a little girl, Autumn Lynn. It wasn’t until after we started experiencing hardships in our life and marriage that we moved away and lost contact with our best friends. Little did I know that we would meet again.

After my divorce, I had a few relationships here and there. But after awhile, a friend suggested that I join Facebook. So I did. It checked all my email contacts for friends who had Facebook accounts. Out of all my contacts only one did – Jessica. I immediately added her as a friend and shot an email out to her asking what she and Dave and their little family were up to. She told me that she and Dave had another little girl shortly after Autumn and then waited a few years and had twin girls. She also told me that shortly after the birth of her twins she left the church, left Dave, and at that time, was getting ready to have her internet-found boyfriend move in with her. I WAS SHOCKED! Never did I expect that this could happen. She explained that she and Dave were good friends now and suggested that I add Dave as a friend too. So I did.

As fate would have it, Dave just happened to be coming to Arizona, where I lived at the time, for a business trip. We thought it might be nice to get together and catch up on our lives and what had changed from the 5 years we last left each other as friends. We had no idea what was about to happen – we instantly fell in LOVE! After dating for about 2 months, Dave proposed and we began the clearance process to get married in the temple. Our clearance came through after 4 months and we were married August 16th 2008 in the California Oakland Temple. It was wonderful! I married the most remarkable and loving man and gained four beautiful daughters – Autumn (5), Joy (4), Gini (2) and Kaity (2).

Shortly after our marriage we were blessed with a career change for me that helped move us from Oregon to California where are daughters primarily resided with their mother. Because of this, Dave was able to request a relocation transfer within Intel moving him to Folsom, CA. Then, also to our surprise, we found out we were pregnant! Something which doctors had told me would be nearly impossible due to my previous complications and surgeries. 9 months later, Jackson Merrill Nelson was born.

During our first year of marriage we battled custody with our girls. Shortly after our first anniversary we were awarded primary custody. Soon after, I quit my job and became a stay at home mother to our 5 children.

Very many people will say they are lucky to have found their sweetheart. Me, on the other hand, I would tell you that luck doesn't even begin to describe ALL that I have found. Not only did I find my sweetheart, my most wonderful, loving eternal partner, I found 4 of the most wonderful daughters that a mother could ever ask for. My life has been blessed beyond anything that I could have possibly imagined since Dave and my girls entered into my life. And of course, I could not leave out the unexpected JOY to have Jackson join our little family.

Tell me about when you knew you were going to be a mother to Dave's children.

A: When Dave and I first met up, we just thoroughly enjoyed being with one another. He was working and living in Oregon at the time and the girls were in Jessica’s primary care in California. So, for the first part of our dating, I hadn’t met the girls. When Dave and I knew we wanted to marry one another, Dave told me that he wouldn’t propose until I met the girls and rightfully so. The girls were going to visit Dave in Oregon for his birthday, so I flew up and we all celebrated! I instantly fell in love with the girls and had no reservations at all about becoming their mother!

Was it a hard adjustment coming into a "premade" family? What were some of the adjustments and what came naturally?

A: It wasn’t a hard adjustment at all. Dave and I have always been on the same page. In regards to the raising of our girls, it has never been HIS children; it has always been OUR children. Dave and the girls welcomed me into their lives willingly and instantly we were family.

Dave had the girls for 6 weeks in the summer before we were married. I took off some work to help take care of the girls. This was my chance to really get a feel for what my life would be like when I married Dave. It was wonderful. Regardless, to any kind of change there are lots adjustments of which I had to learn to deal with. I had to learn that we had to split our time with Jessica; that they weren’t always going to be with us. Also, I had to adjust to the fact that we can’t control what goes on when they are away. I had to learn to discipline and not feel guilty. I had to learn to balance everything at home with 4 children! I would say that with a few exceptions, my adjustments were like most mothers – you learn as you go and that is just what I’ve done.

Mostly, becoming an instant mother came quite natural to me. I never thought – what am I getting into? Or man, what I am thinking marrying someone with 4 kids? Or, how do I take care of this many kids?! I have always loved children and always wanted to have a big family. Since I had so many complications in my previous marriage, it was nice to know that I was finally going to be able to experience motherhood.

When you found out you were pregnant and would be adding baby number 5 how did you feel initially? How did Dave feel?

A: I was shocked! I had so many complications before and was told that it was nearly impossible to bare children. I immediately felt concerned for the health of my baby. I had just accepted a promotion that was going to move us to Sacramento. I had to find a home in Sacramento, while Dave worked out his transfer with Intel which was expected to take several months. I was concerned that while we were apart that I would miscarry and he wouldn’t be there to help me get through it. Dave immediately offered to give me a blessing. He blessed me that I would feel peace with whatever was going to happen and that even though we will be apart, it won’t be for as long as you think. Shortly after that my OBGYN had me come in and confirmed that it was a healthy pregnancy. And within a few weeks as well, Dave’s transfer came through and we moved to Sacramento together.

Initially Dave didn’t feel much of anything because he thought that I might possibly miscarry. He didn’t want to get excited until we were sure. When the 12 weeks came and I finally entered safely into my 2nd trimester, Dave realized it was real and became really stoked! Then of course after finding out it was boy ~ Dave was even more excited to finally have another male figure in our predominately female family.

Tell me about sharing mommy duties with another mom. Is there jealousy on either end?

A: For the most part, everything is kept separate. What happens in their home is different from what happens in our home. Before hand, we just had the girls 2 weekends a month and then several weeks in the summer. It was hard because Jessica didn’t share much of what was going on in their lives. However, things changed when we were awarded primary custody of the girls. Since I knew what it was like to be in the dark, I have felt strongly to make sure she feels as little of that as possible. I email everything of importance, I save drawings that the girls make for her and give it to her when we do the exchange, I send pictures, I have the girls call when something big has happened, etc. I just constantly think about what I would want to know about if my kids were in the care of another individual and I do those things for her.

As far as jealousy, I don’t feel any on my end. Although, she hasn’t openly expressed any towards me, some of her actions would prove otherwise.

Do you have a routine with the girls? Tell me about their adjustment to you.

A: We have many routines. We get up, have family prayer and have breakfast. Once the girls are done they wash up, brush their teeth, make their beds and get dressed for the day. Then they come to me to get their hair done. I love doing fun things in their hair and making cute bows to match their outfits! Autumn and Joy are mostly at school, so on Tuesdays and Thursdays I do Momma School with the twins. I am teaching them letters, sounds, and how to write. When my older girls come home from school we all have snack before working on homework together. Autumn practices piano and then once a week I teach her piano lessons. When it comes time for dinner we have Family Hour. It starts when we all sit down for dinner as a family and it ends after we do an activity together. Then it’s time for showers! Autumn showers on her own now (sniff, sniff – she is so grown up!) while I shower the rest of the girls. Once everyone is ready for bed, we have family scriptures and prayer and then it’s off to bed. Many nights, depending on the time, I will tell the girls stories before they go to bed. The twins go to bed first, but Autumn and Joy have ‘Late Night with Momma’ until 8:00.

The girls adjusted really fast to me. They were very quick to open their hearts and allow me into their lives. Kaity and Gini started calling me Momma instantly. It was so cute. And by the time we were married all of our girls called me Momma. (This is very fitting because Jessica is called Mommy.)

Tell me about your own struggle to carry children with your first marriage. Were you worried at any point that it would just never happen?

A: As I briefly told in my story, I suffered 4 miscarriages and an ectopic pregnancy which almost took my life. Due to many complications, I also had to undergo several female surgeries ultimately leading to the removal of ½ my female parts. At one point in time, my OBGYN told me that he did not foresee me having success in getting pregnant again. This was mostly due to all my complications and scar tissue from all my surgeries.

I was never really worried. I strongly felt that I would become a mother one way or another, either through the bearing of children myself or through adoption.

What is the best part about being a mom?

A: What I love most about being a mother is that I work hard and tirelessly all day long to take care of my house and family. Just when I think that nothing I do matters, I am proved otherwise through big hugs, I-love-you’s, and little acts of thoughtfulness. That is the best part; getting those little acts of love each and every day.

Initially you were going to be a working mom and changed your mind after Jackson was born. What changed your mind and how are you feeling about being a stay at home mom?

A: It was interesting. I always thought that I would be a working mom. After returning to work from maternity leave, a series of acts just took a toll on me. Work seemed less appreciative and made unrealistic demands on me, daycare fell through, and I found myself completely miserable. After a few months of that, Dave and I came to the decision that I needed to quit. So I did! Shortly after making the decision, we were awarded primary custody. My mother-in-law came to help out for a week, while I finished my last week of work. And then, it was done. No more a career woman; now, a stay at home mother!

It really was a blessing that I had already made that choice because I was ready when things changed. It was all meant to be. I love life and I love being home to take care of my children. For me, there is no greater joy!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

{A Contest}

Check out the blog that inspired this one:
Becoming Lovely

And while you are at it, enter the contest they are having!

Lesson Learned – Essay Contest

Submit an essay (700 words or fewer) about a turning point in your life – it can be funny, embarrassing, sad, sarcastic, uplifting… the list goes on and on. As long as it’s about you, we want to read it.

Entries will be posted on this blog, On How to be Lovely, and there will be a vote for the winner.

Submission deadline is August 7th.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Extention Guest Post: by Janssen

While browsing my book blogs the other day I came across THIS POST by a book blogger named Janssen, who is about to become a mother. With her permission, I'm linking her post. Please go check it out and share your thoughts.

The post is all about becoming a mother after you have already built a life around yourself and how your children will see you.

I have chosen the picture Migrant Mother by Dorthea Lange because I have looked at it often since becoming a mother. Her children cling to her for comfort but she seems to be in a whole world apart from them. A world filled with worry and defeat, which she is trying to figure out. Do her children see her struggle? Or do they cling to her for support, feeling her strength. How do these children see their mother? Do they see her fear as we do?

Janssen poses the question: "I wonder how [my children will] see me; I wonder how it will change the way I see myself."


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Motherhood: An Eternal Partnership with God

{Quote of the Week}

I'd rather be a mother than anyone on earth
Bringing up a child or two of unpretentious birth...
I'd rather tuck a little child all safe and sound in bed
than twine a chain of diamonds about my [carefree] head.
I'd rather wash a smudgy face with round, bright, baby eyes
Than paint the pageantry of fame or walk among the wise.
-- Meredith Gray

Monday, July 12, 2010

Mommy Profile: Kiersten White

Meet Kiersten: Wife, Mother, Blogger, Author.

Kiersten has just published her first novel: Paranormalcy, available for pre-order on Here is her mini bio from Amazon:

Like most adults, I was once a teenager. However, I never outgrew it--literally. Standing at a daunting 4'11", I decided to write to my height peer group. Everyone knows that teenagers have more fun. Turns out writing for teenagers is more entertaining, too.

Born and raised in Utah, I was lucky enough to marry a native San Diegan and be adopted into the fish taco and beach culture. A stay-at-home mom and full-time writer (if you count scraping in whatever hours I can after my kids go to bed as full-time), I live with my wonderful husband and two adorable children in San Diego, CA. I'm currently twenty-six, but that's bound to change next year.

Desperate for entertainment, I started writing shortly after having my first baby and haven't stopped since. Being an author is quite literally a dream come true for a girl who spent every free childhood moment reading, and still spends most of her moments (free or otherwise) daydreaming.

Kiersten was gracious enough to answer a few of my questions and here is what she had to say:

Melissa:Paranormalcy is not the first novel you have written, how long have you had the dream to become a writer, and how long have you been pursuing your dream?

Kiersten: I've always wanted to be a writer, I think. I didn't start seriously writing until after my first child was born, though. My husband was in grad school and I was in a new state, lonely, housebound with an incredibly beautiful but decidedly colicky newborn. That first book (which I can now affectionately say was disastrously boring and should never, ever be read) took me two years to write. I spent another year or so very casually trying to figure out the process of getting published and finding an agent. Then I wrote a young adult novel and it sort of lit me on fire--that was what I wanted to do. I found an agent to represent me November 2008, my first novel didn't sell, and then Paranormalcy, which I'd written in the meantime, sold in August 2009.

People are amazed that I wrote Paranormalcy in three weeks, but what they don't see are the years that went into the process to get me there!

Melissa: You describe yourself as a stay at home mom and a full time writer. How do you balance the demands of motherhood and family life with the demands of writing, especially now that you have a contract?

Kiersten: I am always, always tired.

The way I see it is there is never going to be enough time, so I make sacrifices on both ends. I don't spend as much time writing as I wish I could, and I pass up on a lot of socializing and sleep to carve out time to work. I try not to let it take time away from my kids, but it's always a balancing act. What started out as a hobby is now a full-fledged career, and while I'm very grateful that it's something I can do from my home, it's definitely a challenge finding the time.

It's like anything in life: you do the best you can, and try not to worry about the things you can't!

Melissa: Paranormalcy is centered around a female protagonist, Evie. When you write your characters, do you strive to write strong female protagonists?
Kiersten: I do! I have a daughter, and female protagonists who let circumstances or other characters dictate who they are make me cringe. I write romance into the books, but I try to make the relationships an extension of the character, rather than the character simply a vehicle for the romance. Their lives don't revolve around who they like.

I'd also like to think that my protagonists don't always make the best choices, but they always try to make good ones, and in the end they're going to come away with a stronger sense of who they are and what they can do.

And, as any girl should know, the answer to that is: anything. You can do anything.

Melissa: Describe how you get into the writing mode. Do you have a method, such as a specific time frame and work space, or do you grab what time you can get?

Kiersten: I really just grab whatever time I can. Right now I am hiding in my son's room, typing furiously while my kids watch my husband play a computer game. Later tonight I'll probably be on the couch, scraping in whatever time I can before I have to crash into bed.

Melissa: What is your favorite part about writing?

Kiersten: It's such a thrill getting to create whole lives and worlds to play around in, and a nice break from reality! And that moment when you go back to a manuscript to edit and realize that what you have is actually engaging and fun and could potentially be great, there's nothing better!

Melissa: What is your favorite part about being a mom?

Kiersten: I love when their personalities reveal themselves in delightful ways and you realize that they couldn't possibly have learned that trait from you. It makes me grateful for these strange little people that came into my life and changed me more than I can ever change them.

Isn't she great? Paranormalcy comes out AUGUST 31st! Pre-order your copy on Amazon HERE. To learn more about Kiersten and Paranormalcy, you can also go to her incredibly hilarious BLOG and enter to win an advanced copy of her book!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

{This Little Piggie Stayed Home}

You are a mother and you have to face a question: To work, or not to work. There are fortunate people who just get to make their choice based on desire, and some moms have to work, or stay home, depending on the circumstances surrounding your situation.

Before I "grew up" I had an idea in my mind that I would stay home with my kids no matter what. My mom stayed home with us, she was always there at any moment, and many of the small and simple moments were molded into teaching tools. I was very firm in my decision, then I married a man who's mother went to work. He wasn't so sold on my conviction and began to plant ideas in my head and I wasn't sure what I was going to do.

My husband and I worked and planned around the assumption that I would stay home. We got out of debt, we stuck to a budget, we lived only on his income and everything that I made went to savings. It took about a year of this kind of discipline before we felt ready that I would be able to stay home with our children by sticking to this budget and careful planning and preparing.

I gave birth to my daughter three weeks before my final semester of school. Being an elementary education major, my final step to acquire my degree was full time student teaching. That meant that at three weeks I had to leave my tiny baby (happily in the care of her daddy for six weeks, and her uncle for the remaining months) and go to work. Sure I could have waited, but I'd come THIS FAR and I didn't want to wait. Who knows how long it would have taken me to get back to student teaching and to finish my degree.

I knew I was going to miss my baby but I didn't realize how much I was going to love teaching. It made me feel absolutely fulfilled, the kids brought so much joy in my life, and I was able to go home and spend many wonderful hours with my baby. Suddenly, I was filled with doubt. After all, I'd worked so hard to be at the point I was at. I was a soon to be college graduate with the potential to have my own classroom, we would be making a whole person extra salary, and I would be doing what I'd worked for and planned for before I became pregnant.

I won't go into the details, but it was a very painful process eliminating one of my options. Eventually, my decision was to stay home with my daughter. I knew that teaching would always be there, but these years with my daughter were short and precious. Even as I type this, I think of my good friends who are just completing their first year as teachers in their own classroom and feel a twinge of jealousy, but I know for my situation I made the right decision. It was not easy to make-- and at times I question it, but I know I wouldn't have it any other way.

I know for everyone it is a very personal decision. I would never judge a person on their decision to work or stay at home and I don't believe that you are a better mom for staying home with the kids, or going to work and providing financially for your family. Lets just support all moms in all situations.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

{Be Fabulous}

{This is a picture of a woman about to be naked in a national park}

Do you ever just feel old? The status of motherhood heaped upon your shoulders, you may feel less of a woman and more of an indentured servant? Sometimes I will refrain from doing or saying things, because as a mom I need to set a better example.

That is why, at every chance you get, you should do something extraordinary.

While on vacation, several of my cousins decided it would be fun to go bridge jumping. I do not like heights, falling, or becoming paralyzed so I decided against it. Unfortunately for me, as I stood there watching my cousins hurl themselves off the bridge into the water I began to get that "old" sinking feeling from the depths of my bowels. I had to jump. Yes it was hard, yes it took me about ten minutes of standing on the edge making others jump before me, but I jumped into the frigged water of the Snake river and came up feeling awesome. When I emerged from the water my grandpa said "there is the mother of the year right there."

Why didn't I want to take the chance in the first place? Why would I think that becoming a mom would exclude me from such ridiculousness? I was using it as an excuse to prohibit myself from reaching to places that I didn't think I could anymore.

Which is why three days later I found myself standing on a rock in Yellowstone National Park absolutely naked.

After the jump, I found a desire to go beyond my comfort zone and try things that I'd always wanted to do, but decided I was too afraid. My sister and cousins invited me to Mystic falls to go skinny dipping. I'll spare you the details but know that I absolutely did it and I have never felt better doing something illegal in my whole life. Sure, I was afraid I would get swept up in the currant and my naked body would go over the waterfall, sure I was afraid that someone would steal my clothes, or I would get partially eaten by a bear, but I thought to myself, "someday I want my daughter to know that her mom wasn't afraid to take risks, to do something new."

So there you have it, two things I thought I'd never do were done in the period of a week. It was dangerous, it was glorious.

What would you do if you weren't afraid?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

{Quote of the Week}

One good mother is worth a hundred schoolmasters.
~George Herbert

One of the best Mother's Day cards in existence says "Thanks for potty training me, I've found use for that skill on a daily basis." Moms teach you every essential life skill from the moment you are born. Remember that as you interact with your precious children on a daily basis, they are soaking up everything you do, and it is shaping them, teaching them, and guiding them in ways you cannot imagine.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Mommy Profile: Margie Marsden

I absolutely could not go any further on this blog without featuring my mom. I think she is pretty great and I hope as you read this, you will too!

Meet Margie: Homemaker, Wife, Warrior.

Margie became a mother almost 25 years ago when she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl...but enough about me =). She sacrificed more than most to bring babies into her family. Due to a medical "malfunction," her body had a hard time carrying children beyond a certain point. Margie went through four incredibly painful miscarriages. These miscarriages all occurred beyond 18 weeks after going through much excitement and horrible morning sickness. Her desire to increase her family, and incredible faith gave her the courage to continue to try.

The majority of the miscarriages happened between my brother Sean and I who are four years apart. My mom tells me that after one miscarriage, she was too discouraged to answer the phone so she would have her two year old answer and tell the person that "mommy couldn't come to the phone." She believes her difficulty to carry these babies helped her appreciate motherhood in a different way. Through all her heartbreak she carried on like a warrior.

Margie has always put faith and family first. She does not distinguish between the two, creating an environment of peace and harmony within her home. She has always been a motivator for good. When she met my dad, he had little ambition (what 15 year old boy does?) but she motivated him to serve a mission for our church, graduate from college and become a CPA (instead of a D.J. or Forrest Ranger...which were his previous desired professions). N0t only did she help mold him into a great man, she was supportive of his decisions.

Margie has always been a homemaker. Although she graduated from college and worked in the health profession, her desire was to stay at home and raise her children. Coming from a home with a working mother, I don't know when she decided this, but she knew that her home was where she was supposed to be. About 10 years ago however, with all her children in school, she decided to enter the public school system and become an elementary school substitute teacher. She enjoyed doing this, especially when she was able to be in a class with my brother or sister. When they asked her if she would mind substituting for the Jr. High she shirked away. After all, she already had to deal with one crabby teenager, why would she want to deal with hundreds of them. After much coaxing on my part, I convinced her that she would be fine in the Jr. High/ High school scene and she has spent the better part of those years in the upper grade levels. My mom is a Weber Warrior. She knows all the cheers and the school hymn, attends the football games, chaperons the dances, hob nobs with the teachers, flirts relentlessly with the students, and even uses her cell phone during class. Margie has become a fixture in the halls of Weber, and has even been offered a full time teaching position, which she may someday take.

My mom is a spiritual warrior. I would consider my dad a scriptural scholar. He has a vast knowledge and a strong testimony of Christ but my mom has all the faith. She never budges one inch from what she believes. Although at times it was difficult and a pain as a teenager desiring to push moral limits with a mother who would not bend, I can see now that she did so as a protection for me and my siblings. My brother is serving a mission for our church, and has often introduced investigators (through e-mail and facebook) to my mom, asking her to share her testimony. To date, my mom has been an instrument in two of his baptisms. I teased him, because you aren't supposed to take your mommy on your mission...but they can see her goodness shine through.

Some random facts you might want to know if you ever meet Margie: she does the worst foreign accents in the entire universe. It is possibly the most entertaining thing at parties. Ask her to do one for you and you will get about 6 dialects in one short sentence. She loves lemon water and loves putting sugar on the rims of glasses (it is a Sunday tradition). She likes adding special touches to parties, outfits, and meals to give it that extra umph. She takes charge in almost every situation, especially around her extended family. She loves gardening and digging around in dirt. She loves the little girls of the neighborhood and will call them over for princess parties where they dress up and come over to have fun with her. She makes the most gourmet sandwiches you can imagine. People open up to her and tell her their life story. She should have been a psychiatrist. My daughter PREFERS her to me. I don't know what she does but when we are around her, Hannah dives for Grandma and screams when I take her away, trying to wriggle out of my arms back into hers.

She is a great mom which is why she is featured on this blog! I hope to emulate her someday!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Remember Rosalie?

A few weeks ago, Rosalie posted THIS post about nurturing your marriage. I just wanted to say CONGRATULATIONS because Rosalie and her husband Michael welcomed Hunter Michael into the world on June 26th 2010!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Time for a little Nap {Break Time}

I will be out of town visiting family and having fun so this is your chance to get some guest posts written and submitted to!

Submit mommies that you feel should be spotlighted in our profile section!
Write about your crazy stories!

I'll return on July 5th to post your blogs, return with more mommy profiles, and lots more!

Enjoy your summer festivities! See you in July!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Guest Post: Nurturing your Marriage

This guest post is brought to us by Rosalie Mastaler. After a year of trying to conceive, Rosalie is awaiting the arrival of her first child in a few short weeks. Rosalie has been married to her high school sweetheart Michael for four years. She loves music and preforming, and teaches piano to students in Apple Valley and Hisperia California. I met Rosalie almost 5 years ago through an international teaching program in Russia. Rosalie is a great friend, selfless and full of joy. I'm grateful to know this awesome mommy! I thought this post was especially appropriate this week as we celebrate the fathers in our lives.

Recently, as I await my son's arrival, something hit me a little harder than it ever has before. Although I've definitely thought about the change Hunter will bring, and how Michael won't be alone much longer, for the first time I was a little saddened by it. For four wonderful years it has just been the two of us. Even before we were married we'd known each other for nearly ten years, and although those past ten years we weren't always together, we were always just us, we were never parents. Now the time has come to be bringing new life into this world and it's going to be the most incredible experience we have shared. I know it's going to be life changing, and more than I could ever expect, but one thing for sure is that the relationship between Michael and I will change. I don't mean that in a negative way, AT ALL, but it will be a big change in our lives. Don't get me wrong, we can't wait for a little man to arrive. We are counting down the days, hours and minutes, and we look forward to and are so incredibly thankful for this is amazing blessing.

Last night I cuddled with Michael and I told him, "I'm going to miss it just being you and I." He innocently replied, "Ya, you're going to have a new love of your life," so I told him "You will always be my number one!" I told him that we'll still have to hang out, with just him and I! These feelings DO NOT take away from the excitement of having our little Hunter, but I've seen more and more cases where the wife/mother, forget about their husbands because they are so infatuated with their children.
It's not healthy. Heavenly Father first gave me a husband and then we will have our dear, sweet children. We will raise them together, as a team, and we will be a foundation for them to rely on. How could we do that if we are not one? Husband and wife time is so important and it makes me sad to see mothers who have forgotten that. I will be attached to my children (How could I not be!?) But I'm already attached to my husband and will be forever. Besides, before we know it, our kids will grow, and then it will be just Michael and I again. These feelings and thoughts DO NOT take away from motherhood whatsoever, but I hope that mothers/wives remember to keep a strong and eternal bond with their husband so that they may raise their children together as one.

*A Note from the Blog Author*

Rosalie and I have talked about this at length. We have decided that it is easy to place an emphasis on the children rather than your marriage, after all a husband can clean, care for, feed himself where a baby relies only on their caregivers for physical and emotional well being. If you neglect your child they will suffer physically right before your eyes. They will scream and shout. It often takes several months and even years to actually see the toll neglect in a marriage will take. Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam, authors of Baby Wise emphasize the importance of fostering this sacred relationship with your spouse. "Healthy, loving marriages create a sense of certainty for children. When a child observes the special friendship and emotional togetherness of his parents, he is more secure simply because it isn't necessary to question the legitimacy of his parent's commitment to one another. If a child perceives more weakness than strength in this relationship, we believe this perception produces a low-level anxiety in the child. Ultimately, the anxiety affects all of the child's learning disciplines."

Ask yourself, "What have I done for my marriage today?" How do you continue to share a special relationship with your spouse while raising children?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

{Why a Daughter needs her Daddy}

When we found out I was pregnant with a little girl, Adam was terrified. "Daughters are different from sons," he said, "they are precious." In his mind, Adam thought he was going to have a son to play with, to mess around with. When he found out it was a girl, he didn't know what to do with himself.

I have always had a close relationship with my dad. Perhaps it is because we are so alike in every way. To this day, as we drive to the airport, movie theater, or any other even where timing is essential, I get flustered and cranky if we are running behind schedule. I got that from Dad. Adam and my mom have to deal with our overly cautiousness and empathize with each other.

We once took a personality test independent from each other and scored the EXACT SAME. It was extremely eerie. I am such a huge part of him. Even now, having lived away for years I'll tell my parents stories and they will just laugh at "Tim Jr." In the words of my father "different people are different," so along those same lines I guess I could say similar people are the same. I could always trust the advice of Dad. Because we are so similar, it was almost as if listening to him was listening to my future self. Unfortunalty as a teenager, I got really good at tuning my future self out...even when I didn't mean too, I'd be off in some other wold and suddenly I'd realize my dad was trying to tell me somthing and I'd have to fight my way back into the conversation. He always seemed to know how I was feeling. I remember my first heart break. My dad sat me down and told me about his first heart break and how life goes on. He told me stories I'd never heard before and was SO simpathetic. He told me I would feel better, he didn't tell me to feel better. He always let me cry and then I'd move on.

I tease my dad because when I was pregnant and even after I took Hannah home from the hospital, he would randomly call me up and say "do you know about babies and plastic bags? Make sure you keep her away from plastic bags," or "do you know about leaving babies in cars? You don't do it, especially in the summer." It was pretty funny because they were obvious things but I knew he was just looking out for his granddaughter.

My dad always tells me that he is proud of me. I appreciate this because I always know he is telling the truth. I know he is proud of me and I know he loves me and his support has always meant the world to me.

His influence was evident especially in making a decision to marry. I knew I had to marry someone who was as kind and loving and respectful to me as my dad was to my mom. There are not many men out there like my dad so I knew Adam would have a lot to live up to. He's getting there ;)

I'm grateful for a wonderful dad and I'm grateful for Adam who is a wonderful dad to Hannah as I mentioned in previous posts.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Fathers and Sons: Part 2

When my husband was 4 years old, he didn't really have a father in his life. His parents were divorced and living in different states. That is when he met his dad, Terry. Terry knew that when he married his wife, he was becoming a father. Terry has never treated Adam, or his brother Austin, any differently than his other children. He adopted him happily, and then raised a wonderful man. He taught him how to take care of things around the house and work on cars. As a high school teacher, then administrator, Terry influenced Adam to seek his Education degrees.

Adam often says that the best thing his mom ever did for him, was to marry Terry and give him a father. Terry continues to be a wonderful father, father in law, and grandfather even as he serves our country in Camp Buehring, Kawait.

For years I've loved this song, but when I married Adam it became especially relevant. This is Terry's song.

Fathers and Sons: Part 1

My dad was so excited to have a son. Someone he could share his love of sports with, to coach and to play games with. Someone to share an interests. He wanted to raise a boy to become a man.

Like many men, my dad is a fan of high action movies. The explosions, the intrigue, all manly and fun. He was excited when my brother became old enough to enjoy some of these things with him. They would watch James Bond movies together then talk about the cool things that happened, their favorite parts.

One day, while working in the yard. My brother Sean, who was still just a kid at the time, was contemplating the awesomeness that is James Bond. He turned to my dad, and with all the wisdom of a child, made a comment about how, James Bond didn't really make the best life decisions (smoking, drinking, women...etc.) In that moment. My dad realized that while James Bond is THE Man, he didn't want his son to look up to him as a role model. He didn't want his son to grow up, thinking that the decisions James Bond made were right because James was "cool." My dad decided to get rid of his James Bond movie collection. Now, it was a bold move, perhaps one that most people would make. He could have just stopped watching them, or stopped sharing them with his kid, but my dad wanted the house to be free of negative influences that had the potential of directing my brother.

Sean recognized from an early age that my dad treated him differently than his sisters. He was the one who would get yelled at if he ever physically hurt us because "you NEVER hit girls, you NEVER treat women with disrespect." He didn't understand why he wasn't allowed to cry over something, when I would cry over the same thing. He was always expected to work harder and sacrifice more. As girls, we never got off easy, but my dad was always on top of my brother, making sure he was developing into the man he was supposed to be.

A few months ago, Sean talked to my dad about this. He thanked him for the firm, but loving way he raised him. He thanked him for pushing him to be a hard worker, devoted, and respectful. Sean is grateful for the solid foundation that his father provided him.

M. Russell Ballard says "Fathers, you are the primary model of manhood for your sons. You are their most meaningful mentor, and believe it or not, you are their hero in countless ways. Your words and your example are a great influence on them."

Be grateful for the men in your life who raise the men in your life.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Quote {s} of the Week! Celebrating Fathers!

In honor of Father's Day on Sunday I wanted to share several quotes relating to FATHERHOOD that I really enjoyed.

My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, "You're tearing up the grass." "We're not raising grass," Dad would reply. "We're raising boys."
~Harmon Killebrew

A father carries pictures where his money used to be. ~Author Unknown

When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.
~Mark Twain

Monday, June 14, 2010

Special Edition: Daddy Profile {Adam}

Sunday is Father's Day and I wanted to do a special profile on one of the greatest Dads I know, the father of my daughter, Adam.

I always say that Adam is the best thing I could have ever given my children and I'm so grateful for him.

Meet Adam: Husband, Father, Teacher.

Adam is the oldest of six kids and grew up in California. He served an LDS mission in Sydney Australia. Adam graduated with a B.S. in Elementary Education and currently teaches in Las Vegas. Last spring, Adam graduated with his Masters degree in Administration. I met Adam over five years ago while he was getting his undergraduate degree from BYU-Idaho. He is my best friend, my husband, and my own personal stand up comedian. I had the pleasure of being there every step of the way for Adam's transition to Fatherhood. I'll never forget the look on his face when he found out he would be a daddy, when he felt her move for the first time, and when he looked into her precious face and fell in love.

For her first two months of life, Adam stayed home and was the primary caregiver, so that I could finish my degree. It was a precious time for daddy and daughter as they grew to love and to know each other more every day.

Adam is an exceptional father. Not only is he loving and playful with his girl, he is always ready and willing to care for her needs. He has never complained about diaper changes, feedings, baths, clothing, or any of her essential needs, not even in the early hours of the morning. In fact, he always asks if there is anything she or I need him to do before doing anything for himself. Adam takes on an equal parenting attitude when he is at home, rather than shirking from his fatherly duties, which is very appreciated. There is nothing he won't do for Hannah.

My most precious memories of the last ten months of parenthood are when I catch Adam and Hannah reading a book together, or singing a song together, or just talking. I also love when he attempts to comb her hair in a part, or to put a bow in her hair...most always he ends up bringing her to me for that part, but at least he tries right :)

Every morning Adam calls "dibs" on getting Hannah out of the crib. He wants first hugs, kisses, and smiles. If Adam goes to work before she wakes up Hannah always looks over my shoulder and out the door to try and find him, calling "Da,...DADA?" Adam also called "dibs" on putting her to bed every night after I've nursed her.

Not only is Adam a great father to Hannah, he is also a wonderful partner to me. If ever I have concerns over her safety or health, Adam always strives to accommodate me in my concern, and never tries to tell me I'm being irrational. He is very supportive of my decision to stay at home with Hannah, and very supportive of the way I care for her. He has such a wonderful heart and I couldn't have married a better man.

I am grateful for his wonderful, righteous heart and the way he serves his family. As you can see he is an amazing man and I'm glad I got the opportunity to introduce you to him!

Leave a comment! Tell about the wonderful Father's in your life!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Be kind to EACH OTHER

I was reading a lovely book called A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. In the book there is a chapter about an brand new, unwed mother who loves her baby completely despite her unfortunate circumstance. It talks about the other women on the block who heckle her, and even throw rocks at her (which ceases only when a stray rock hits her baby boy, causing him to bleed).

This is all observed by Francie, a 13 year old girl who can't understand why these women are being so cruel. It says:

"Remember Joanna. Remember Joanna. Francie could never forget her. From that time on, remembering the stoning women, she hated women. She feared them for their devious ways, she mistrusted their instincts. She began to hate them for this disloyalty and their cruelty to each other. Of all the stone-throwers, not one had dared to speak a word for the girl for fear that she would be tarred with Johanna's brush.

Most women had one thing in common: they had great pain when they gave birth to their children. This should be a bond that held them all together; it should make them love and protect each other against the man-world. But it was not so. They stuck together for only one thing: to trample on some other woman...whether it was by throwing stones or by mean gossip. It was the only kind of loyalty they seem to have."

I have been blessed, unlike Francie, to be surrounded and raised by strong, confident, loving, compassionate women. The disloyalty of women that Francie perceives is not uncommon, but it is not as absolute. I love being a woman and I love being a part of the universal sisterhood, and it is my belief as women and especially as mothers raising children that will socialize and run the world together we should stick together and as Francie suggests "love and protect each other."

Ask yourself, have you done something lately to uplift and love a fellow sister?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Quote of the Week

"It is not until you become a mother that your judgment slowly turns to compassion and understanding."
-Erma Bombeck

I love this quote! I usually spend a long time looking for quotes but today when I saw this I knew I had to use it. I feel that my heart has been softened toward most of humanity, not just my baby, since becoming a mother. I feel I've been a little less critical and a little more compassionate and that is why I chose this quote.

Do any of you have a similar experience?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I am Mommy! Hear me ROOAAAARRR

Today I did something amazing. I shaved my legs, while nursing my sweet baby.

It made me start to think about the things mommies do for their kids, the way their bodies have to be available at all times for comfort, nourishment, and care. It also got me thinking about how many times I find myself on my knees during the day, caring for my little girl whether it is fixing her hair, changing a diaper, picking her up after a fall, cleaning up after a spill etc. I don't know if it was designed this way, but it serves as a reminder to pray in gratitude for my healthy child, and for the strength to get up off the floor and continue through the day, teaching her, loving her, caring for her.

Before I had a baby, I couldn't fathom the physical toll it would take on my body. I am constantly running around, chasing, bending, stretching, lifting, carrying, etc. It made me grateful for pregnancy which was at times very difficult. They say that which does not kill us only makes us stronger and I feel stronger (and a little more tired) as a mom having gone through pregnancy.

By design, mothers have strong hearts, strong bodies, and strong minds. We may not feel it at the time, but we are called to do hard things and bear heavy burdens. Recognize that within yourself today. Remember what Miss Molly told her son, "I am capable of hard things, and so are you."

Have you ever been faced with a difficult challenge but felt strength because you knew as a mother you had to do it?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Past Post: Rocken the sTrEtCh MaRkS

There is an excited buzz in the air as one of my dearest friends awaits the arrival of her first born son who is expected to debut in the next month, however, as the time draws closer and closer she is becoming more anxious for the whole process and everything to follow.

I am reminded daily of the day I welcomed my baby into the world, not only because of her precious presence but also, from the physical reminders that came with her. I decided to post something that I wrote for Becoming Lovely last November. Some of you may have read it.

(These are not my stretch marks, image via Google)

I was recently saddened by a status update from a pseudo friend of mine who is 25 weeks pregnant. She said “_____ told me today that cocoa butter doesn’t work on stretch marks... sad face.” I can’t fully blame her for her dismay. I admit that I, too, had qualms about my post-baby body while I was pregnant, as my body was distorting to epic proportions. But I also recognize that I’ve never felt more beautiful than when I was pregnant. If pregnancy is wonderful and beautiful, then post-pregnancy is a mess.

Before I had Hannah, I had a pretty average body. I weighed in at about 130 pounds; my boobs were small, but firm; and my skin was all around smooth and stretch free. Naturally as my body changed I became a little self conscious. While I’ve never had to really watch what I eat, I confess it took a while for me to eat fast food in public because I didn’t want to be the girl with the pudgy tummy eating a Big Mac. I didn’t even enter the building to buy any food until I had an obvious baby bump that was obviously not just an extra flab of fat.

My friends told me that it was the coolest thing to give birth and watch your stomach go flat (in reality it is the coolest thing to actually give birth and watch a human come out of you… a human you already love so completely). I was intrigued by this, as I could no longer remember what it was like to NOT have a pregnant body. About thirty minutes after I gave birth (I was a little too occupied with my new daughter to care about my body) I finally looked down to notice my stomach. To my amazement it WAS flat. Hallelujah! Unfortunately, to touch it felt like kneading dough but who could have time to care about that (TOES! HOW I MISSED YOU!) when my body was so small. Well... not quite. I stood up for the first time and my flat stomach became a replica of 4 month pregnant me. Did I miss something? Twins perhaps? Alas, I still looked pregnant when I stood up and let it all hang loose--literally. Not only that, but my body continued to change drastically over the next few weeks. My small but firm boobs had become large and voluptuous during pregnancy. I couldn’t wait to try those babies out after the stomach was gone. Unfortunately, they were still NOT sexy. They were leaking all the time and when they were not large and in charge, they were shriveled and resembled old man breasts.

I have to admit for about a month I didn’t want my husband to see me naked EVER. I didn’t even want to see me naked. The boob situation got worse as I’d lie down and they would flop to their respective sides of my ribcage (lovely), and I had long circular marks stretching across my once taunt stomach. I was not an attractive sight. Then something happened that changed my whole perspective…

I went to church two months after Hannah was born and a woman stood up to the pulpit. She introduced herself and her husband. She talked about how they had been married for five years and had been very blessed in the beginning. They managed to buy a house in a time when the sellers had the upper hand, and decided to start a family in their new home. While they were blessed in almost every aspect in life, they were not conceiving a child--and after over a year of trying they were told that the woman would never carry a baby conceived naturally. They started on fertility treatments. Nothing worked. They went into debt to try costly alternatives and still nothing worked. Finally, they gave up their house in order to do invitro fertilization, and happily, she is expecting a baby girl in February.

I sat there and listened to her story, sobbing as I held my baby close to my imperfect body. That imperfect body had created, carried, and delivered the perfect little angel who now lights up my life. My unattractive breasts now sustain that life through the milk my imperfect body creates. I went home, bound and determined to be grateful for a body that was so perfectly able to conceive with hardly a thought and have a successful, comparatively easy pregnancy. A month after that life changing moment, I still am in awe at my beautiful stretch marks swirling around a body that obviously has accomplished something miraculous. I roll out of bed, pick up my boobs off the floor, and face each day feeling more beautiful than ever, and grateful for the opportunity to be a woman. Grateful to carry the scars of childbirth, the dark circles from a lack of sleep, the lines on my eyes from smiling too much; and grateful for the perspective that I may now share with my daughter when she is feeling less than perfect.